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Museum of Motherhood

*Dr. Mama*, “Rendering Glorious” (MamaBlogger365)

I’ve written this month about atoning for the paths I chose last year that had some negative impact for how I live and mother.  In this last week of January, I’d like to consider some of the paths I took that I think served me well and served my family well.  So I guess I’m not atoning this week, but celebrating.  Rendering glorious even.

One of the paths I’m taking by purposeful choice is aging gracefully.  I don’t mean that in the way that the makeup industry means it, or the way that the “skin rejuvenation” or cosmetic surgery industries mean it, which is to resist mightily any sign of aging, to focus on preceding life stages, thus diverting our gaze from current and future ones, to work frantically and with much effort and cost at disguising the life space you actually do occupy.  What I’m talking about instead is moving lithely along with the flow of your life, allowing the glorious effects of aging to season you.  I really loved being 16, and 25, and 34.  But being older than that is much cooler than I had imagined.  I feel more centered, positioned at a better vantage point that allows me to see what I couldn’t see before and to make things matter differently.  How to not assign all of life’s complexities the same heavy weight is a skill that emerges across years and through experience.  So I think I’m doing a pretty good job of seeing how my own and my children’s ages do nice things to me and for me.  I don’t have the babies anymore and that can be melancholy every once in a while (even though I refer to them as my babies, like when I’m texting them), but mostly it’s lovely and good and right to have arrived here.  Seasoned.

A second path I’m taking is one where I am more forgiving of me.  About my ability to earn supermom points, for example—these are imaginary points that I assume my children are chalking up or the culture that surrounds me is chalking up when I manage to meet a few of the typically impossible demands that mothers confront—dreadfully unrealistic expectations that we are taught are necessary and in children’s best interests (though we have little convincing proof it).  I try hard to eschew any loyalty to these standards and expectations but they exert a troubling influence on my thinking anyway.  I am better not only at feeling good when I’m able to accomplish what I’m taught to wish I could, but also at feeling good about not needing to chalk up supermom points.  These are tallies that I never actually see, of course, so I can’t really verify who is judging me, or how or when I’m losing or gaining points; nor can I determine how much I even care about any of it which, of course, is the grand design of what sociologist Sharon Hays calls “intensive mothering” expectations.  We’re never clear on where we stand with regard to meeting them; we always seem to be reaching for them and never basking in the success of having achieved them, so we are inclined to feel, at some level, inadequate, not good enough as mothers.  These days though, I am better at doing what I can when I can and when I’m up for it—cooking meals every night for several nights straight and then, not so much. For several more nights. I haven’t prepared a hot sit-down dinner in days, and I’m good with that.

Finally and also relatedly, I’m taking a path that pulls me less forcefully between the “shoulds” of culture that tell me what a good mother should do and the “shoulds” of feminism that tell me what a good feminist should do.  If I want to go to the school activity, I go.  If I want to labor in the kitchen, I do.  If I want to laugh at some YouTube video with my kids, one that might make me lose some of feminist stripes, I do.  If I want to get my nails done, or swear in front of my children (though being mindful of its impact on my own energy, as the Veganasana writes in her recent post), or spend two days organizing my closet and arranging my clothes (and my belts on this awesome new organizing contraption I bought) or wear makeup, I do.  My point is, the arbiter for deciding what’s appropriate in a given moment is me these days, and not some external judge that I’ve envisioned or that I’ve been taught to bow my head to.  Don’t really do that anymore anyway, head bowing.

So despite my foibles and humanity, some of which I’ve unfolded this month in my focus on Food, Work, and Time, I’d like to end January with tipped hat to the ways in which I’ve learned to be awesome. I hope my maternal readers are inspired to sing their own praises too.

By:  Amber Kinser

Check out Dr. Mama on Facebook, follow her on Twitter @DrMamaWit, and see her webpage

More facts on aging

 

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About M. Joy Rose

Woman, Mother, Human, Rocker, Educator, Activist Director; Museum of Motherhood President and Founder; MaMaPaLooZa Inc. a company by Women, Promoting (M)others for social, cultural and economic benefit. Dedicated to a more educated, more peaceful, more musical planet.

Discussion

8 thoughts on “*Dr. Mama*, “Rendering Glorious” (MamaBlogger365)

  1. Well said. My new year’s “revolution” this year was similar in many ways. It’s hard to get the mind around those expectations, but I think if anyone can, it is you.
    Thanks for the linkage!

    Posted by Lorin | January 27, 2011, 08:52
  2. Did you hear today on CNN, Walmart is selling ‘anti aging’ cream to 8-12 year olds. Hmmmm. We need to REFRAME aging along with MOTHERHOOD. When we start to believe older women are beautiful, sexy, forthright and accomplished – even if we have to work hard to make our minds bend in new directions – this would be cultural override, then I think there is truly hope for our children to live for ALL their experiences and not just the youthful ones….. Age is a gift! Believe me, as a kidney transplant recipient, I know this to be true….

    Posted by Joy Rose | January 27, 2011, 08:56
  3. very profound and a great reminder that feminism is ultimately about empowerment – empowering ourselves to rise above mediocrity, above the social status quo and believing and ‘doing’ exactly what we feel is in our power to become. It not only empowers us, but those around us who also need a light to be inspired by, to follow, to mold and shape their own feminist mantras. Empowerment, courage to act and persistence to follow through.
    Thank you for a profound blog.

    Posted by Jodi Nelson | January 28, 2011, 09:19
  4. I love that you so readily articulate “supermom points,” a concept in which society seems determined to keep us bound. My fear is that all the supermom wannabes who take this idea seriously are creating an environment in which our children are actually keeping count. When my fieldtrip bound children look out the bus window and see a caravan of most of the other mothers tagging along (literally), and don’t see me – do they believe that “the majority rules?”

    Posted by MamaMoxie | January 28, 2011, 12:02
  5. @Lorin I’m enjoying the reciprocity of our blogs–you’re much more edgy and progressed than me in mind-body work. I love learning from Veganasana [readers, check out the “Lorin” link above] and virtually tasting your meals!
    @MamaMoxie I agree; I do think children are keeping tabs, but I don’t think those are the tabs that cripple us. I think it’s our perception of the tabs and the authority we give to the people we’ve identified as tabulators. Besides, I firmly believe that children figure it out in their own time. Maybe not till they’re 20 or 30 or 40, but I think mostly they figure it out. And since that’s too dang long to wait, we have to stop keeping tabs on their tabs.
    @Jodi thanks for seeing the larger feminist themes here about women’s empowerment
    a million thanks for reading, and for posting.
    @Joy. yes indeed, a gift.

    Posted by Dr. Mama | January 28, 2011, 20:21
  6. It has taken me 25 years of mothering to cozy up to the idea that perfect mothering is just that; an idea. Or perhaps an ideal. I have chalked up many supermom points and had just as many erased and I am comfortable with that. I did the best I could with what I had and that has to be enough; not only enough for my children but enough for me.

    Posted by Mamanym | January 28, 2011, 21:34
  7. @Mamanym well said! great point about just as many erased as accrued. and dead on about the necessity of enough for our own selves. thanks so much for posting.

    Posted by Dr. Mama | January 28, 2011, 23:40

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